In: English and Literature

Submitted By jasonoliquiano
Words 1454
Pages 6
The Last Leaf by O. Henry from The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories

This Level 1 ELLSA lesson can be accessed on the internet at Lesson plan and text: Jeffrey Taschner, 1999
Print and web-adaptation: John Morgan, 1999
© USIA, 1999. All rights reserved


1a) Synopsis

Johnsy and Sue are artists who move into Greenwich Village in New York City. As Winter approaches and the weather gets colder, Johnsy becomes ill with pneumonia. She gets so sick that she believes that when the last leaf falls from the vine outside her window, she will die. An old artist, named Behrman, who lives in the same building as the girls, braves a storm one night to paint a leaf on the wall — a leaf that will never fall. Cold and wet from painting in the icy rain, he catches pneumonia and dies. This gives Johnsy the hope to survive her illness, and it also creates the masterpiece Behrman had always dreamed of painting.

1b) Vocab checkpoint

• approaches (verb) To approach is to move towards. It is often used with seasons and special occasions (New Year, Christmas, birthdays) as in the example here, as well as with people and moving objects (vehicles, etc).

• becomes (verb) In this example, becomes has the same meaning as "gets". With illnesses, we often use "to fall", or "to be taken": Johnsy fell ill/Johnsy was taken ill

• pneumonia (noun) Pneumonia is a serious illness of the lungs.

• vine (noun) A vine is like a branch (of a tree), but is actually a stem of a climbing plant (it may also be used to describe the climbing plant itself, e.g. grape vine).

• braves (verb) To brave as a verb, means to face an adverse or difficult situation, even though the person may not be brave (as in the meaning of the adjective: courageous).

• survive (verb) To survive something is to overcome a problem, illness or…...

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